The open source and free software communities are motivated by the
desire to build an inclusive information society. Open standards are
the foundation of this vision. With respect to Microsoft's OOXML
proposal submitted to International Organization for Standards (ISO)
through ECMA, the open source community has consistently pointed out
that ISO's "fast-track" processes were never meant for a complex,
6,000 page proposal like OOXML. Several serious ethical and governance
issues were also pointed out with respect to the Ballot Resolution
Meeting (BRM) on OOXML that was held in Geneva in February 2008 and
the European Union has initiated an investigation into OOXML. The
Indian committee consisting of government, academia, industry and
software exporters voted overwhelmingly against approving OOXML as an
industry standard with 13 votes against and only five votes in favor.
It is worth noting that the academia consisting of the most respected
Indian institutes; and the government voted against OOXML.
The Open Source Foundation of India believes that all stakeholders
should collaborate on the creation of standards and should compete on
creating the best implementation of these standards. As we have seen
in countless standards battles (VHS versus Betamax, Blu-Ray versus
HD-DVD, Microsoft's proprietary extensions to HTML versus Netscape's
proprietary extensions) battles over standards end up hurting
consumers and the industry. On the other hand, unified standards like
the HTML standard that governs the Internet, ends up benefiting
everyone. Standardization around HTML has converted the Internet into
a global platform that is now used by 1.2 billion users. The amount of
innovation we have seen in terms of social networking, search engines,
Web 2.0 etc would not have been possible if the Internet was a
fragmented platform. We therefore believe that vendors should stop
pushing their own standards, which leads to wasteful competition.
Instead, they should collaborate with all stakeholders to create
unified and open, royalty free standards as this delivers the best
outcome for all stakeholders.